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Farewell to James Doyle

Farewell to James Doyle

James Doyle conducting research at the National Museum of the American Indian.

The Dumbarton Oaks post-doctoral fellowships are intended to enhance the career skills of recent recipients of the PhD through their involvement in significant institutional projects, while enabling them to benefit from the resources and community of Dumbarton Oaks.

James Doyle (PhD, Brown University, 2012) was a Dumbarton Oaks Post-Doctoral Fellow in Pre-Columbian Studies in 2013-2014. Recently he moved to the position of Assistant Curator in the Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. We asked James how his experience at Dumbarton Oaks contributed to his professional development.

James Doyle: When I began my postdoctoral position at Dumbarton Oaks, I had two primary tasks: to document the objects from Central America and Colombia in the Bliss Collection as a foundation for the final Pre-Columbian catalogue, and to help organize an objects-based workshop for scholars to write entries for the publication. In close consultation with Juan Antonio Murro, assistant curator for the Pre-Columbian collection, I prepared dossiers with photo portfolios for each object. For the weeklong workshop, Colin McEwan, Director of Pre-Columbian Studies, and I identified several innovative scholars in the United States, Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia, divided the collection and shared object information among the eight participants, and devised the schedule in consultation with museum staff. The workshop was a resounding success and resulted in new object entries for the catalogue.

My experiences at Dumbarton Oaks, in both the documentation project and the workshop preparation, directly influenced my desire to pursue a curatorial career. My new position as an assistant curator in the Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas at the Metropolitan Museum of Art will allow me to research and publish information about objects in the Metropolitan’s collection, present works of art in the galleries in an informative and exciting way for the public, and curate exhibitions on intellectual themes within Pre-Columbian archaeology and art history. I am really grateful for my time at Dumbarton Oaks, which was instrumental in helping me forge a new trajectory in my academic career and provided me with the skills and knowledge for success at the Metropolitan.

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